News breaks quickly from time to time. In this section, we offer views on events of importance around the world.
- Toxic Trumpby Helenfogarassy
Note: A little dated but unfortunately still relevant. Part of a book entitled America Votes Obama to Biden Past Trunp: a kaleidescopic view of the Trump phenomenon. The book is a seies of think pieces on America in the 21st century.
A toxic person may be hard to define but sure is easy to spot. Saturday Night Live presented a skit about such people.
In the SNL skit, a couple arrives late for a group dinner and takes over the event with boring boasts about their recent vacation. They are oblivious to social cues, the lack of interest shown, the increasing verbalization of impatience, the abrupt departure of other guests. Some couteous couple clears the tab at some point to signal the end of the session. The offending couple stays, reminisceing about the good time they had on their vacation.
Toxic love has the same effect when only two people are involved. One dominates and the other remains sublimated for any one of a myriad reasons. Maybe the relationship relieves loneliness or offers some social advantage. For all those complex reasons, toxic love describes the relationship between Donald Trump and his base.
The rational mind plays a minimal role in love at its best. In toxic love, the faculty of reason cements the harmful bond. The more that family and friends object to the union based on its visible effects, the more that the special bond is reinforced between the toxified lovers. Outside criticism only serves to prove the special connection others can’t understand. A special soul-to-soul language renders the union sublime. The connection is a mind-meld ala Dr. Spock of Star Trek.
Parties to a toxic love enter into the arrangement as eagerly as anyone hit with Cupid’s arrow. At first both people are euphoric with the new sense of belonging. But in toxic love the joys become drowned in conflict as the needs of one exert undue pressure on the one meeting those needs. In toxic love, the bond deepens with every investment made when a storm is weathered as a couple until some climatic event severs the union irreparably. Unfortunately, the rupture often occurrs in the form of a catastrophe.
Following such a break and premised on survival, the toxic one either faces legal charges or moves on to new conquests. The driving needs of the toxic person are stronger than any bonds formed. With no such parasitic needs, the wounded partner is left lonely, betrayed, abandoned and often devastated. Years can go tnto parsing the course of the affair, the forks in the road that led to continued loyalty instead of an earlier exit. In chastened memory, the beloved morphs from a heroic rebel into a dizzying control freak. Through a bruised and wounded worldview, the healthy survivor recognizes that toxic love isn’t blind. It wEARS 3-D kaleidoscopic goggles.
To those not enamored, the toxic love between Trump and his base is obvious. In a healthy love, leader Trump would soothe and inspire those aggrieved in America.. Outside criticism would occasion introspection, not the venom that he needed to draw his captives closer into the union. In a healthy love, Trump could even have held the raucus rallies that both he and his base so loved. But once he spewed the vitriol that acted as a cathartic for both, the smitten -base would have gone home to ponder ways to further strengthen the bond between themselves as the needy ones and the object of their love, the great man who let them love him and with that gave them a purpose in life.
To those not smitten, the rallies remain painful to witness even in the tiny snippets now allotted them in the media. Trump insults, blames and demonizes all who stand between him and his base. They stay loyal, if they do, because he draws the stalwart remainers into the toxic cocoon he continues to build for them by destroying their dignity and self-respect.
“Love me or hate me, you gotta vote for me cause your 401K is going down the tubes if you don’t,” Trump told supporters at a New Hampshire rally. Whether or not the base interpreted the threat accurately, they applauded. “No way I would’ve come to Erie if I wasn’t down in the polls,” he told a rally crowd in Pennsylvania. To anyone but the base, that was quite an insult.
To all appearances, Trump was oblivious to his own toxicity. The bloated ego that came from easy conquests among the vulnerable needy left him no room to recognize others. The base to him no doubt consisted of numbers, noise, boos and jeers. They were signals of a readiness to anticipate and carry out his every wish, But to those who were lucky enough to escape and recover from a toxic love, the great show of ardor was a sign of doom.
“The lady doth protest too much,” said a character in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The phrase meant that too much outward show betrayed internal unease. Equilibrium was bound to restore the senses in at least a good number of the smitten Trump base.
- Answer the Global Call, 911 Americaby pwsbuilder
The world has been calling the American emergency hotline throughout the 21st centruy. America just pushed the snooze button on the alarm clock each time until 1/6 now threatens to blow the whole house down.
A foreign enemy attacked America on 9/11/2001. American friends rushed to help defeat the enemy. They remained true even when it turned out America had targeted the wrong foe. A period of healing followed when America broke a global race barrier by electing the western world’s first non-white leader. Then the world shuddered at the tremendous backlash from America itself in the form of anti-democratic Donald Trump.
Almost certainly with Russian help, a technicality put Trump into the White House on 11/09/2016. Even before inauguration he began dismantling democracy in accordance with the Russan model that Hungary has also adopted since. He trashed the Constitution, violated norms, packed the judiciary and other institutions of government. Using that tailor-made machinery, he worked the mob into a violent frenzy while posing the inquisitive free press as a target. When he lost the next election despite all insidious measures, a coup was the only avenue left.
The 1/06/2021 US coup attempt was the most surreal event in modern history. A 1/6 Committee has spent nearly two years painstakingly proving to America that the scene the entire world witnessed really did occur. Meanwhile, Ukraine was demonstrating in real time the democratic values that America was blithely throwing away.
The Russian attack on Ukraine brought friends of democracy rushing to aid the stricken country because America had its democratic leader back. Seasoned Biden with experience in foreign relations as both Senator and Obama VP knew the value of reliability and trust in dealing with other countries. It was a wisdom young America still needed to learn from global forebears who had fought the battles that made America possible, especially mother UK.
America was an offspring of the British Empire that once united the world in competition with other white European colonializers during a brutally bloody period of world history. It took two world wars in the 20th century to derail the entrenched momentum.
The first war dissolved the empire model of world relations. The second destroyed the dictatorial option of selectivity about the world’s people. The UK under the newly deceased Queen Elizabeth the Second managed the transition by dismantling the empire in favor of a Commonwealth providing the stability of continuity in a fast changing world. Young America could benefit from that approach as it brushes off the ashes of the 1/6 near coup.
The entire aim of the Trump tenure was to stoke racial tensions in a country where the issue was particularly sensitive due to history. The culture war that Trump provoked is now igniting a violence that could destroy the country. The volatility can be defused with the UK approach of outreach to allies.
America’s racial tension is more pronounced than in other countries because of the contrsst between the democratic ideal and the on-ground reality. But the tension exists worlwide across all races and cultures. It is a universal powder keg that America has the expertise to defuse if it just heeds the world’s 911 call.
America will need friends if it is ever again attacked from inside or out. Ukraine is proof that the fiercest enemy can be fought off with support of friends rallying to the American democratic values that America may lose if it doesn’t reach out to more experienced friends.
So America, answer the 911 call from the world. The life you save may be your own in learning the value of long-term loyalty and how it differs from short term meddling in the affairs of others.
The Grief of Queen Liz in Context
Grief is the price we pay for love, England’s Queen Elizabeth said upon the death of her lifelong love just a year before her own death at age 96. Uttered in a deeply personal moment, the grief no doubt related to other heart-wrenching events in her long life.
Born in 1926, she no doubt felt grief when WWII bombs punished her home and she was unable to stop them. She had to feel grief as her family fell apart and she adjusted by tearing free of life expectations as she’d always known them. For someone of her wise equanimity, grief had to be a product of deep feeling.
Rumors about dissolving the monarchy must have hurt as she remembered Churchill seeking her counsel. Advising her own son about a divorce from a wife adored worlwide must have been painful in the extreme. But as she had sworn on acceding the throne, she remained loyal to her oath of representing her country in its n its most graceful and dignified form. To do that as the world transitioned from colonialist to free-standing must have entailed enormous grief.
For England, making that transition meant not just losing an empire but understanding why it was happening. It entailed establishing a Commonwealth and maintaining good relations. Without the compassion required for the task, the transition could have been bloodier, as it had been throughout history. Queen Liz broke the cycle.
A person more callous than Queen Liz would have grown that way by feeding anger instead of love when wounded. All people of good will misfire at times, their good iintentions get misread. But at the global level of Queen Liz, her pain might have reached the level of grief when the outcomes of history were thrown back at her as blame.
The British Empire may have ended. As a result, Britain may no longer be the economic superpower it once was. But it remains a cultural superpower because of Queen Liz, which means it may again rise to the top economic ranks. That is a contrast to former empire Russia.
If Putin has any deep feelings, they are avaricious and full of hate. He lost an empire, he destroys Ukraine to build it back. Resultant actions are leading to economic and cultural collapse. Likewise in the US, former leader Trump set out to turn the country into a global empire of miscreants. The ugly culture he created for the purpose is on a crash course to defeat. The combination of solid law and good human character is undoing him.
No one knows what will happen with the British monarchy after Queen Liz. But if Queen Liz is any indication, the world needs yhe monarchy’s stability.
The new King Chatles may not have his mother’s charm or wisdom, but he is her son and it may emerge in the sunlight of the duty she handed him. England, like the US and the entire world still have the ravages of the colonialization period of history to heal. Meanwhile, they all need to unite in trimming the tentacles of newly arising imperialist contenders..
as the tentacles of neo-colonist imperialists need to be trimmed.
White Male Killjoys
The official Obama portraits were finally unveiled in a ceremony that Donald Trump wouldn’t host. The ultra-white US president between half-white Obama and all white Biden was quite transparent in the logic. If the portraits weren’t hung, Obama had never been president.
Absurd as that thinking is, the logic is no more tellingly twisted than to claim without any basis that Obama was foreign born and therefore ineligible to be president long after Obama was already in the White House. While racism is the obvious source of Trump’s hostility toward Obama, his similar attack on Biden shows additional factors at work.
Trump’s affinity for tyrants provides the strongest clue for what makes Trump tick. Being a tyrant himself, of couse he likes power and seeks out sources that can rub off on him. But a deeper look at the common element in tyrants suggests that at heart they just don’t like happy people.
In fact, successful happy people enrage tyrants like Trump.to the murderous point. This can more easily be seen in the legally less stringent Russia ruled by Putin.
Putin has a slew of political and economic reasons for invading Ukraine. But the ferocity of his assault, his unbending redoubling of efforts at any cost suggest a more primal force at work.
Ukraine is happy, it has friends, it is resourceful and it has the will to resist being broken. The very traits that win admiration in democracies are the ones that act like red flags to desperados bulls like Trump, Putin and the white supremacist MAGA mobsters just itching for violence so as to kill the happiness they’ve been unable to find.
That pathetic angle on the vicious who use power to cow the envied may not help much in the practical sense, but it can fuel the resolve to resist. Being envied puts a person in the driver’sseat and at ease, which helps in making decisions and in bridging racials divides. It helps separate wolves from sheep, the good white guys like Biden from the bad like Putin and Trump, who have no problem bullying even white guys they either envy or don’t like.
Best of all, seeing strongmen as pitiful emotional weaklings helps to build the culture of democratic happiness that makes all activity more productive. Seeing the reality of tyrants relieves the enormous emotional burden placed on all who deal with them.
Ultimately, it takes a lot of energy to believe an event didn’t happen when it did. Multiply that energy exponentially with every layer of enablers needed to keep alive that the fantasy of denial. How much more efficient if Trump admitted he lost an election, Obama had been president and his pal Putin was losing the war in Ukraine.
Happy Democracy Takes Work
Mikhail Gorbachev who died this week was the hero who pulled back the Iron Curtain and let the sunshine in on bleakness. Two years later a coup in Russia gave rise to Vladimir Putin, a beneficiary of the corrup Communist system Gorbachev was wise enough to see as a dead end. Fast-forward 30 years and Putin was hell bent on rebuilding a system US President Ronald Reagan dubbed the “evil empire”.
Putin began the revival by attacking neighbor Ukraine for its decision to choose democracy over terror. Current international laws don’t allow for an accurate tally of atrocities, but Putin foes are regularly known to fall out of windows, be poisoned or disappeared into bottomless penal colonies. Having once been freed from such tyranny, Ukraine vowed to fight for its freedom at a time when allies needed Ukraine to win.
Again in Reagan’s words, the happy Western democracies assumed that Soviet-style tyranny had been chucked onto the “ash heap if history”. Its resurgence so close to home was a shock. Even more unsettling was its creep into world-leader America.
Tyrant-friendly Donald Trump was a glitzy American grifter eager to do business in Putin’s Russia. A joint effort snared a big chunk of the US electorate and a majority of the American conservative party. Once in the White House, Trump dismantled institutions, sowed discord and fanned violence. He wreaked havoc in the true demagogue manner until a majority of America’s people blocked his re-election.
American institutions held, however hard Trump worked to bribe, flatter or threaten those carrying out their functions. The only option left was a coup. When that failed, Putin mobilized forces to invade Ukraine.
Fallout from the Trump barrage continues to shake both America and the world. But the steady lead of American Joe Biden has been a guiding force for allies to support Ukraine in a new appreciation for both the value and costs of democracy.
America is still torn in opinion about the leader who was a would-be king. But as the novelty of his reign wears thin, America shows signs of the happiness that democracy brings. It shows in the overwhelming support of Americans for Ukraine.
Regardless of political differences, Americans of both parties see Ukraine as a hero nation they recognize in themselves. It is a country doing the hard work of fighting for the democracy that America first gifted to the world.
Ukraine Celebrates, Russia Kills
Independence Day 2022 marked 31 years of freedom for Ukraine from the failed Russian Soviet Union. Celebrations were muted under six months of illegal shelling by Russia. As a token of its regard for Ukraine, Russia on Independence Day shelled a train station, killing 25 civilians and injuring scores of others. Russia, it seems, is so miserable that it can’t stand to see anyone happy.
Russia is not alone in this misanthropic perversion of human nature. A big chunk of the United States is hell-bent on destroying the institutions built to benefit the people. Gun enthusiasts arm the disgruntled with assault weapons to put the kibosh on happy outdoor gatherings. Angry parents want comfort for their kids so they drive teachers from the schoolrooms their kids once enjoyed. The simple joy of helping people vote is now doused by gun-toters.
It seems that America, like Russia, is in the grip of an ill wind. In both cases, the wind blows from an empty canyon atop an artificial mountain. Ukraine is the glorious reminder of a life that is free of such ill-will.
America has seen bad times but it has never been dominated by a power-monger who used his rancur as poison. Russia has no qualms about literally poisoning those out of favor anywhere in the world. It never flinched while occupying half of Europe and bleeding it dry. But Ukraine survived those 40 horrible years and the story is well worth heeding.
After 45 years under the Russian yoke, Ukraine was free for 25 before Russia began to encroach again. In 2022, Russia began a full scale destruction of the life that Ukraine had happily rebuilt in freedom. With its response to the latest assault, Ukraine won the aid if allies through an important reminder.
Misanthropic ill-winds can arise and hit anywhere at any time. The only way to fight them is with universal values beyond any that money can buy.
Building a Better America
The richest country in the world is proof that money can’t buy happiness. Money merely masks the same afflictions that the poor suffer, not just at home but on a global scale.
According to US and global data sources, the US has one of the highest suicide rates of any rich country. In 2020, there were nearly 46,000 suicides, up from nearly 23,00o in 2014. Middle aged white men were the victims in 70% of the cases.
On the addiction front, the Centers for Disease control estimated over 100,000 accidental deaths due to overdose in 2020. The addictions were related to a slew of psyciatric disorders from depression to psychoses. About 10% of the US population suffered from an addiction at some point in life. And while cases often went untreated, the 10% population rate was a striking contrast to the global 2%. The Covid pandemic and a near-coup may have been a wake-up call for America to address its vulnerabilities..
The man who would be king of America seduced enough of America’s vulnerable to get elected. He tore through the Constitution and made a mockery of the law with evasions. As the aftershocks of his tenure continue to hold America’s conservatives in thrall, America as a whole is learning to tell the difference between the real and the fake.
America is large, diverse and fiercely independent. Each of 50 states has its cherished historically determined voting method. The 2020 federal election that occurs every four years came in the middle of the pandemic. To accomodate the voting public advised to avoid crowds, states made last minute changes, a simple common-sense response to circumstance. For Donald Trump, it was the signal to continue the farce begun four years before.
Gold is the Trump color but Trump gold is veneer. It is gold plate, nothing near solid gold. Trump won the presidency by presenting fool’s gold as the gold standard only he understood. But like every claim that sounds believable if spoken in the voice of the master, the proof of the pudding was in concrete reality.
There are expert tests for telling fool’s gold from the real thing but the most basic test is simple. Fool’s gold is pyrite, hard and brittle. Real gold is soft, malleable and shimmery. Real gold warms the heart through the eyes. Fool’s gold goes straight to the heart and hardens it.
Later this year, an election nears and much of America remains addicted to the adrenalin rush of mistaking fool’s gold for the real thing. But America as a whole can start to cure its ills by remembering the gold standard held up by countries like Ukraine.
America Both Sublime and Absurd
Oh beautiful for spacious skies, give me your tired, hungry and poor. Yankee doodle dandy, glory, glory hallelujah, his truth is marcing on.
During its short 250 history, America has grown into a cultural powerhouse for democracy. Then just as equality for all was about to be achieved with America’s election of a first non-white western leader, America’s conservatives turned rabid.
The backlash began with the Tea Party shortly after the inauguration of Barack Obama. Trashing of decorum began when a conservative senator shouted “liar” into Obama’s first address to Congress and noone said a word. The disdain for a non-white leader manifested in the stonewall against his policy proposals, leading to a 2016 bomb blast from which the country and the world has yet to recover.
The ascendance of Donald Trump into the White House was a perfect storm of blizzard conditions. Woman Hillary Clinton was the presumed winner of the election against unfit Trump. As wife of a former president, Clinton had endured the pillory. As Secretary-of-State under Obama, she had incurred the wrath of Russian President Putin, who was exploiting the emerging social media platform to wreak vengeance for the fall of his beloved Soviet Union 25 years earlier. Putin acolyte Trump had wooed his hero unsuccessfully for years. Quite possibly, his potential as White House occupant gave Putin the incentive to boost a Trump win.
Morally speaking, America may have sunk to its lowest ebb during the Trump years, all due to Trump’s wizardry in torturing language and meaning. The tired, hungry and poor were beguiled into believing the glitzy grifter was one of them. Most susceptible were white workers feeling victimized by a slow brewed racial reckoning.
Trump exploited the fluid American class distinctions to stoke chaos for its own sake, probably because it made him feel in control. Armchair psychology aside, a ludicrous handling of the Covid pandemic combined with a desperation-fueled campaign led to a resounding defeat for the Trump re-election bid. That defeat in turn cranked up the chaos machine with a resultant coup attempt and an absrurd debasing of America in the world’s objective eye.
Many of the world’s emerging countries suffer electoral woes. It takes a robust system to inform citizens of candidates, set up and staff polling stations, conduct elections and count the votes from local to national levels. For those countries, America’s electoral woes are the height of absurdity that raises questions about the country’s very sanity.
To hold an election by the most advanced and secure systems and then not accept the result can be a definition of insanity. It is like taking your pulse, feeling the throb and then still not believing you’re alive. Even more absurd is the fact that this hysteria of temporary insanity is attributable to a single actor who like many in their own emerging countries manipulte votes to seize power.
America as a whole is rightfully concerned about whether its democracy can hold against its current strong tide of insanity. A look at neighbors can reassure.
As America fights for democracy on the home front, Ukraine fights for America’s founding principles overseas. In that way, Ukraine reaches a helping hand to America with a reminder of the sublime momentarily submerged in the absrd.
Decoding the Trump Double-Talk on Race
Donald Trump left the White House with a loot of documents belonging to the American people. Months of reclaiming efforts netted a partial return that left in limbo the national security of classified information. When the legal road left no option but for the FBI to retrieve the sensitive documents, Trump jumped the gun.
In a lengthy screed, Trump told the nation that his Mar-a-Lago home was under seige just like was done in third world countries. In fact, he added in essence, America was turning into a third world country. The trope was a nugget thrown to political enablers as a dignal for how to jump on his bandwagon of deflection.
Comparing the robust American legal system with fledgling systems developed since post WWII decolonization was absurd. But even aside from the usual use of such feints to throw the law off his scent, Trump’s real meaning cannot be missed.
One-time Trump loyalist Michael Cohen ended under the bus with others whose eyes lost the fairy dust. On his way to prison, he described the indirect Trump way of issuing orders so that he would never be indicted on a quote. Likewise, he is adept at spraying sound-bite quotes that destroy evidence in a deluge.
“I’m the least racist person in the world,” he bragged and searched a throng while calling “Where’s my African American?” The stunt buried the truth of his role in the Obama birther inanity. Given the frequency and dissonance of such claims, fact checks get left in the dust and conspiracists spin webs. Given the fragility of race relations in post-Trump near-coup America, all sides are likely to dance around the real meaning of Trump’s 3rd world allusion about America.
America’s current white majority is a product of history. Amercan Blacks were an oppressed minority from the start. Immigrants for America’s first 200 years were largely European. Compared to the overall world, relatively well-off Europeans could easily travel to America in search of a better life to blend right in with those already here. New immigrants from further away with different cultural values have divergent views about fitting in. But whatever their views and howvwe they fit, America and the largely white western countries are destined to make room for the world’s multi-hued people.
In simple terms, the white population rate is decreasing. The birth rate in the world’s most populous countries is on the rise. Those are in China and Asia, notably India. In addition, with democracy on the rise worldwide and gaining in popularity with the young, the supporters of racists like Trump are making an investment with diminishing returns..
Trump fever has caught the spirit of this transitional time in America and the world. The Trump double-talk has implified the death rattle. But decoding the double-talk is a good way to ease the death pangs that Trump weaponizes to satisfy his rage..
Only the US Thinks the 1/6 Cmtee Work is News
The 1/6 Commiitee investigating the 2021 failed US coup presents the final chapter of its current findings in prime time a year and a half after the shocking event. Each of the seven earlier public hearings painstakingly laid out a portrait of an orchestrated coup. The detail gleaned from thousands of interview hours was so convincing that previously mum witnesses were drawn to come forward. This final leg of first hearings is expected to tie the former US president directly into the militia groups that staged the coup. That revelation will presents an enigma for both the US and the wqorld in wildly different ways.
Two-thirds of America has been spell-bound by the effectiveness of the presented facts that were already known. That group is eagerly looking forward to the next segment. The one third of America needing to see those facts in a new light will not be watching the prime time evidence. Neither will the rest of the world for an opposite reason.
Foreigners no doubt don’t see the need for the Committee. To them it seems silly since the whole world watched the coup in real time. The 1/3 of #Americans who cling slavishly to a proven master con would not believe the reality even if the former guy himself confessed. After all, a prerequisite for a master con is to know the mark. In this case, a big chunk of media is part of the mark network. But some foreigners look at the hearings and the limits of their reach and they react with anguish.
Ukraine is among them. The fledgling democracy is dying for the freedom that 1/3 of Americans willingly dismisses. Ukraine fights on behalf of all democaracies against the Russian Putin committed to sqashing the democracy he says leads to weakness. In his grift to hook base followers, US former guy encouraged tough unruliness when it served his pupose, as in the 2021 coup. But it takes no scholar to find out that the silver spoon draft dodger hires goons to do the rough work. If US former guy was Putin’s idea of the soft character that democracy breeds, he was certainly set straight by the effective leader Zelensky in partnership with seasoned democrat Biden.
A prophet is never appreciated in his own hometown, the Bible noted. Biden’s low approval reflects this truism but context matters.
Biden took the US presidency while a pandenic raged and US institutions were ravaged by the former guy who continued to menace and instigate obstructions. Despite slings and arrows from all sides, Biden passed measures that benefitted all Americans. When Russia attacked Ukraine, he brought together the world’s democracies to help Ukraine and to ease the global supply chain bottlenecks that began with the Covid pandemic.
So if democracy is voluntary coperation without the use of force, perhaps Americans are best off joining the 2/3 majority watching the 1/6 Cmtee presentation that shows former guy tied directly in with the insurrectionists who staged the coup. That way, the exhaustive American process of democratic justice will lead Americans into the global fold where people know they saw a coup in real time..
Biden Braves the Mideast for America & Ukraine
It was small comfort to any of the worl’s near 200 countries that the inflation of 2022 was worldwide. Rich countries used to comfort were loudest to complain about supply chain shortages due in part to Covid restrictions and in part to the Russian assault on European Ukraine. Food and fuel prices were hardest hit due to Russian devastation and blockages of Ukraine exports. With European unity fairly stable in support of aid to #kraine, Biden jetted off to the Mideast to tackle another hornet’s nest.
Russia’s ace in the hole for containing the West was the threat of deploying nukes. A successful multilateral deal to curtail Iran’s development of nuclear weapons had been scuttled by the previous US administration and Iran had progressed with its nuclear program. Biden’s task during the trip was to juggle pragmatics with principles among greatly diverse regional players.
Israel was established after the Second World War on land that had belonged to Great Britain. The land was inhabited by the Palestinian people and fighting has been fierce ever since. Issues of contention range from historical, religiou, cultural and territorial to downright security of survival as a nation and/or people. Among the greatest regional threats is the refusal of some Arab countries like Iran to admit the existence of a state called Israel.
Enter Saudi Arabia, whose new leader has modernization goals for his country at a rapid clip that entails a brutality reminiscent of Iran’s experience. Under the shah, Iran lept into the modern world until the shah was ousted by the current opposite regime. Long known as a protector of Islamic ideals, Saudi Arabia was the breeding ground for the 9/11 terrorists who attacked the US. More recently, the current Saudi leader was named as the mastermind behinf the brutal killing of a prominent Amerca-based Saudi journalist. With human rights a top priority for American president Biden, negotiating with the Saudi leader is a delicate necessity for regional as well as global peace, prosperity and security..
Democracy as a work in progress
Democracy was nearly overturned in the United States birthplace of rule by the people. That near collision with catastrophe called for a rethink of the democratic principles set out in the United States Constitution, which has served as a template for democratic constitutions ever since. Those constitutions mushroomed after the Second World War as former colonies, territories and satellites became independent countries until they now number near 200.
Those democracies range from democratic kingdoms to pseudo-democracies like Russia where democratic rule of law is subservient to those in power. The US near coup brought those differences into relief in large part because Russia at the same time invaded the former Soviet Union captive Ukraine.
When Russia attacked Ukraine while American democracy itself was under attack, the ferocity of Ukraine’s resistance reminded Western powers of their own values and vulnerabilities. That gave America’s new leader an opening for uniting democracies world wide in support of Ukraine as defender of joint values. Through thar early 21st century crisis, democracy came to be seen as a valuable work in progress that warranted the world’s best royal guards. The same can be said of a website devoted to enduring democratic values and the internationalism that is essential for safeguard of the principles.
As a note to both repeat visitors and happenstance tourists, please bear with us as this website dresses in public. Transparency is vital to democracy. To a writer, transparency of a website work in progress is a cherished delight.
Cop26 on Climage Change
For now, keep your eye on the Cop26 Climate Summit in Glasgow convened by the UN. The world’s youth is energized to fight climate change, but they have yet to confront the challenges facing the elders involved in the Summit itself. World youth protected by democratic standards have yet to face the real challenges of life. How to deal with recalcitrant important global players who don’t function according to democratic rules.
In the final week of Cop26, the world would appreciate suggestions from the world’s youth on how to approach Russia, China and Brazil, three global polluters who won’t even take part in the blah-blah-blah so cavalierly dismissed.
Summit on Democracy December 9/10
The beacon of democracy nearly toppled in 2021 but its sturdy infrastructure saved it to fight another day. its destination was a more perfect union. In 2021, that union encapsulated the entire world of near-200 countries, a heavy lift at that scale.
As an insider to the US political system, experienced Joe Biden was elected to lead the effort based on an integrity affirmed by the country’s historical under-class. With Biden’s lead, the country held off an insurrection, managed a politicized pandemic and repaired damage in world cooperation on issues such as climate, trade and migratoin. Still, making a more perfect union among near-200 countries remained a heavy lift.
In 2021, Biden managed domestic unrest, including policial assault from the former guy and his followers. Biden also battled dissent within his own support group. Some wanted the security of socialism while others wanted the challenge of capitalist competition to prevail. Those issues were best addressed in a global context as arranged by Biden in a Summit on Democracy to be held on Thursday and Friday, December 9/10.
So far, the Summit seems not to have garnered much media interest but it has brought about some fun thinking. What exactly is a democracy and who fits the bill? Who decides metrics of definition and how do you correct misinformation?
American democracy has certainly run the gauntlet over the past five years or so, but the lessons learned are a roadmap for the country’s youth, as well as for the world going forward. Ask local media to cover the Democrcacy Summit on Thurs/Fri. Support global good will at helenfogarassy.com. Keep an eye out for Gobal Democracy Summit.
How to Help Democracy
US President Joe #Biden is hosting a #Summit for Democracy with 110 world democracies taking part. It is a two-day affair and on the first day he stressed two important points. First, he added “women” to the US Declaration of Indepdence to say that “all men and women are created equal. Second, he said democracy was not a defined entity but an evolving system of government by the people for the people. That evolution was taking place in various forms and at different stages all across the world. Recent events in the US demonstrated that world democracies could benefit from sharing experiences and best practices.
Recent research by respected institutions such as the Pew Research Center indicates that the ideal of democracy is gaining traction across the world among ordinary citizens through information exchange on the internet. At the same time, the age-old techniques of autocracy are just as pervasive. Their basic tools of coercion and deception have remained relatively unchanged across millennia.
After a coup attempt in America by a sitting president never considered fit for the office to begin with, many Americans are fearful about how fragile democracy is. But those who have lived under suppressive forms of government see American democracy as sturdy and resilient. Yes, it needs serious work to keep it evolving, but its institutions are solid and the large majority of its people are decent, strong and good-willed. In this next big milestone of evolving in a globalizing world, America and its people will benefit from a broader view of themselves in context of the greater world.
As a Hungarian-American immigrant born into communist Hungary under Soviet occupation, Fogarassy appreciates America with an ardor greater than many of those born into its blessings. Her image of America is shaped by early memories. Those include five-pound cartons of American cheese distributed by the Red Cross to refugees in Austria, followed by grade-school kids initiating her into American ways. Hot dogs were a favorite form of facilitating information exchange on both sides.
Integrating the American way into the broader world has been a major theme for Fogarassy, now an internationalist writer with the helenfogarassy.com website still in development to promote ever better the joys of American democracy. Her latest published work is America Votes Obama to Biden Past Trump: a kaleidoscopic view of the Trump phenomenon. Issued in October 2021, the book is a series of her articles on aspects of Donald Trump as a fraudster who snookered America.
Following publication of America Votes, Light of a Destiny Dark was re-issued. The Americanized novel is based on a memoir by late Mom Helen Skerl Fogarassy shortly after escape from Hungary in 1956. The memoir was entitled Behind God’s Back, the way Eastern Europeans felt behind the Soviet Iron Curtain of barbed wire. Many of Hungary’s young were not yet born when the Curtain came down in 1989. They would benefit from a reminder of that time before another tyrant Russian install wrecks the democracy of freedom-loving Hungarians.
Toward the end of bridging gaps between the old world and new, Hungarian-Americans are a key link. The American Melting Pot is not merely a pooling of immigrant talents. It is a pooling of values, traditions, strengths and wisdom of the cultures from which the immigrants arrived here. Fogarassy’s book entitled Mission Improbable: the world community on a UN compound in Somlis is a portrait of internationals from all countries thrown together on an enclosed compound to deal with national issues on a very telling personal level. Spoiler alert: Fogarassy and Somalis got along fine across great cultural differences.
Finally, Fogarassy’s Midas Maze ties America into the global reality. No child can grow into adulthood without a strong supportive structure. Likewise, governments and global institutions are stymied at present by obsolescence. Global well-being underwent a huge growth spurt after the Second World War. mainly through the establishment of the United Nations and its many affiliated institutions. Thousands of non-profit organizations feed into the system clogged by the bureaucratic systems established in the mid-1950s. The novel is a fun romp through the pitfalls of bureaucracy with the hope of adding to the drive for upgrade.
URGENT SOS FOR UKRAINE
At the end of February 2022, #Russia unleashed an assault on former #USSR satellite #Ukraine that few in the world believed he was fool enough to undertake.. By all reliably accredited sources. #Russia’s President #Putin aims to rule the world by recreating the Soviet Communist empire that collapsed in 1991 after satellite countries in 1989 won freedom through support of major established democracies, esspecially the #US. Now, #Ukraine is the global linchpin in whether tyranny or democracy wins the future.
Fogarassy has a bird’s eye view on this decision. She is a seasoned Hungarian-American writer who was born in Hungary, lived briefly in Austria as a refugee, then was raised in the American Midwest until becoming a New Yorker from where she experienced the world through the United Nations lens as an independent observer. To her, the Russian assault on Ukraine is a pivotal point in global relations.
A rapidly changing world is mired in old-world thinking, Fogarassy contends. The situation in #Ukraine highlights issues in urgent need of address if civilization is to progress. Her major works focus on those themes.
Mission Improbable: the world community on a UN compound in Somalia is a first hand account of global good intentions gone awry due to a “failure to communicate.”
The Light of a Destiny Dark was recently re-issued. It is a novel based on a memoir about life in Hungary under Soviet occupation after the Second World War.
America Votes Obama to Biden Past Trump: a kaleidoscopic view of the Trump phenomenon is a newly relased collection of articles on how #Russian #Putin may have tried to render #America its first salletile in a neo-Communist campaign.
Finally, The Midas Maze is a fun novel about the vast United Nations global network that can serve to either advance or corrupt the world depending on personbal morality.
#Russia’s assault on #Ukraine is a turning point for the world. Do we opt for the freedom of democracy or the security of a tyranny that takes the burden or choice of our shoulders? The choice is clear. #Ukraine is the newest metric after previous uprisings against #Soviet-styled oppression in the 70 yhears since the last World War ended.
Voice your own vote at any #helenfogarassy.com chennel promoting this work. Those supporting #Ukraine need to hear your views and they thank your support.